Etcher burns images to USB keys, SD cards, more

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Etcher is an open-source cross-platform tool for burning images to SD cards, USB drives and other removable devices.

The program keeps operations to the bare minimum, all of them clearly displayed on a simple interface. Choose your image, then your drive, and finally click the “Flash!” button.

Etcher supports many different image formats: ISO, IMG, RAW, BZ2, DMG, DSK, ETCH, GZ, HDDIMG, XZ and ZIP.

The program burns images only and can’t compete with more versatile products, but does at least warn you of this. We chose a Windows image, for instance, and Etcher warned us that extra processing was required to make the image bootable, and we should use a tool like Rufus instead.

The “Choose a drive” step only enables selecting removable devices, reducing the chance that you’ll accidentally trash a system drive. If this doesn’t suit your needs — maybe a removable device isn’t being detected correctly — you can disable this protection by turning on “Unsafe Mode” in settings.

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Once the image is written, Etcher validates the results to make sure it’s worked correctly. That’s usually a good idea, but can take a while, and if you prefer you can disable validation in Settings.

The program can also burn the same image again immediately afterwards, handy when you’re working with a batch of drives.

Overall, while it’s not doing anything too clever, Etcher is a convenient and easy-to-use image burner which works almost everywhere. And that’s just fine with us.

Etcher is an open-source tool for Windows 7 and later, Linux and Mac.

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